Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day Ride to Paducah

A recent Saturday in March brought sunshine and temps in the mid-seventies. A rare opportunity and one I decided not to squander. A quick operational check of the airhead and I was off for one of my favorite day-ride destinations, Paducah, Ky. Paducah has one of the fastest growing artist communities in the nation and, for a small town, much to do and see.

I four-laned it to Union City before hitting mostly back roads the rest of the way and made a short stop there to take a picture of the Goodyear Plant destined to close at the end of the year. It will be a devastating blow to the region and a familiar scenario faced by many areas around the country as jobs move overseas or simply disappear.

Above: Goodyear Plant in Union City, TN soon to close. Good paying jobs gone!

I arrived in Paducah and parked the RS near the old part of downtown. In the warmer months the streets are blocked to motor traffic on Saturday evenings and the townspeople host a street festival with carriage rides, music acts, and the occasional car show. It is really an amazing thing for such a small town with people everywhere milling about and taking advantage of all the restaurants and shops. During the festival one of the side streets is reserved for motorcycle parking and it is often full.

Above: Venerable RS!

Downtown has some beautiful old buildings, landscaping, and a sea-wall covered in murals. The locals have rightly preserved things and take pride in showing it off. I spent some time there walking around snapping pics or sitting and enjoying a coffee. The weather was absolutely perfect and the planets lined up as well.

Below: A series of shots from downtown Paducah.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Above: Even the alleys are beautiful!

Above: I can just imagine this theater in it's day!

Above: The river was up a little...

Above: Murals along the sea-wall.

Continuing my ride I headed west on I-24 to Grand Rivers, Ky. I stopped at Four Rivers Harley Davidson on the way to take in some of the bikes and have some free popcorn. The dealership is always full of people and the parking lot has some interesting sights. Harley has their marketing down right!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Above: Impressive Harley Dealer in Paducah.

Grand Rivers is a small tourist town that sits at the north end of "The Trace" that runs through the Land Between the Lakes Park in Kentucky and Tennessee. The town and park contain anything one could possibly want to do from mountain biking, horseback riding, boating, and hiking to just simply taking it easy. Patty’s Restaurant resides there and is one of the not to be missed attractions. I only stopped to take some pictures and then began my ride down through the Trace.

Above: Painted Lady in Grand Rivers.

Above: Is there anything more beautiful than sailboats?

Above: Buttercups along the Trace...

Above: ... and Bison

Above: The airhead along the Trace

The ride down the trace is laid back and beautiful. The speed limit is on the conservative side and you want to observe it anyway because of all the deer and turkey in the park. It’s not unusual to see some on the 40 plus mile ride.

Exiting the park I went a short way west before turning south down highway 232, one of the more fun roads in the area, and favored by the sport-bike locals. I then turned west again and lucked up on a ferry that crosses the Tennessee River and not only shortened my ride home but made it more interesting as well. I don’t like to pass up a ferry ride if I can include it on my route. The fare was seventy five cents!

Above: Looking west across the Tennessee River. Home is in that direction.

I arrived home a little after dark. A good ride and a good time all within easy riding distance of my West Tennessee location. Hope you will take advantage and enjoy as well.


  1. What a great little town, some real interesting pics. And i agree nothing quite like sail boats!

  2. I love the architecture images!! I wish I lived closer to Paducah. I miss the smaller towns and having a "community" feel. Looks like a wonderful trip and can't believe a 75cent fare!!

    Thanks for taking the time to stop so we could enjoy the images. :)


  3. Dear Raftnn, Yeah, one of those jewels you find in your own backyard. Just getting out and exploring with the camera on the bike is one of my favorite things. Thanks for stopping in and thanks for the "follow"...

  4. Dear Lori, thanks for the comments. I love all those little towns and the charm they hold. Hope to do more photo essays of of some of them within a day's ride of home.

  5. Dear Jonesy:

    What a great ride with great pictures! I have heard of Paducah, but it was in conjunction with a joke. This town is beautiful and, judging from your pictures, is part of the vanishing slice of America. I am saddened t hear of the Goodyear plant going out of business. If it is because they are going to make tires in China or Brazil, then it is time to organize a boycott of this company.

    I have added Paducah and Grand Rivers to my maps of must see places.

    Thanks for this, Jonesy.

    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads
    The Bermuda Triangle of Biker Bogs

  6. Looks like a great ride for such an early day of the year. It's been warming up in Virginia, too, and we've been getting out, but I think your ride trumps anything we've managed to accomplish yet this year.

    I also love old airheads, good for you for maintaining and riding one. My next bike, if I can ever slip another one past the wife (current count: 3) will be an airhead. Probably a /5 or /6. This will put the BMWs in the majority and, for the first time in my life, put the Hondas in a minority category. Scary. Though, not exactly a worrisome prospect for the moment.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  7. Brady, thanks for the comments, the "follow", and for reading my blog. I'll be perusing yours forthwith. I have a real affection for anything old but I'm really enamored of those old airheads. Mine just keeps chugging. Good riding to you!

  8. Nice photos there, nice old BM too.

  9. Jonesy:

    Are you okay? Long time, no see...
    Twisted Roads

  10. Thanks for checking on my Jack. Don't count me out. Doing fine - just life getting in the way. Triple digit heat indexes have pretty much quashed the riding this summer except for a few early morning rides.